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Blues & BBQ Concert Commemorates 40 Years of Norris Center

Acclaimed blues artist Shemekia Copeland to perform at anniversary celebration

Shemekia CopelandThroughout the 2012-13 school year, the Norris University Center has celebrated 40 years of providing memorable educational and recreational experiences at Northwestern’s student center. To top off a year of art exhibits, prizes and “throwback weeks” highlighting pop culture from different decades, Norris is bringing back a long-held spring concert tradition.

The Norris University Center presents “Blues & BBQ,” a free concert featuring blues sensation Shemekia Copeland.  The concert will take place Friday, May 17 from 5:00 - 7:30 p.m. on the Norris East Lawn and will be open to the public.

Shemekia Copeland is a Grammy-nominated blues singer from Harlem, New York.  The daughter of Texas guitarist Johnny Clyde Copeland, Shemekia began singing at an early age and first went on tour with her father at age 16. Since then, she has released four critically acclaimed albums and won several awards including Living Blues Magazine’s 2012 Critics Award for Most Outstanding Blues Singer.  Her most recent album, “33 1/3,” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Blues Album. Copeland was officially named the new “Queen of the Blues” by the City of Chicago, where she will be headlining the Chicago Blues Festival in June.

In addition to Copeland’s performance, a barbecue dinner featuring Hecky’s BBQ Sauce will be available for purchase: $8.50 for students and $12.50 for staff and the public.  Student meal plans will be accepted, and Allison, Elder, Foster-Walker, and Willard dining halls will be closed for dinner. The meal will include a choice of chicken, roast brisket or portobello, with sides, dessert and a drink.

The Norris 40th Anniversary event will also include the dedication of a Northwestern time capsule, to be opened 40 years from now.

“The Blues and BBQ tradition has been a big part of the Norris 40-year history,” said Kelly Schaefer, director of the Norris Center. “Reviving the outdoor tradition with blues star Shemekia Copeland and barbecue featuring Hecky’s sauce, Northwestern students, faculty, staff and Evanston community members alike can all enjoy an evening by the lake.”

Blues & BBQ will also feature a prize wheel and giveaways, with free outdoor blankets for the first 300 attendees.

Visit the Blues & BBQ page: and Shemekia Copeland’s website:

For more information contact James McHaley, Director of Student Affairs Marketing at 847.467.7113 or

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